Would you like to have your pizza delivered by a self-driving car? This might seem too futuristic, but realistically, it won’t be long before customers ordering from Domino’s Pizza would get their ordered pizza from a self-driving vehicle by Ford Motor Co.
This comes as Domino's Pizza and Ford have entered into a collaboration in which they would assess and understand the role that self-driving vehicles could play in pizza delivery. According to the companies, randomly-selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will soon receive their pizza delivery from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle.
Set to be implemented over the next several weeks, this collaboration project will have the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle driven manually by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Participating customers could track the delivery vehicle -- through GPS – via an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. As the self-driving vehicle nears its destination, the participating customers would receive instructions – through text messages – on how to receive their orders. Participating customers would have to unlock and open Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle by inputting a unique code.
Through this process, researchers from both Domino’s and Ford will assess the reactions of customers to interaction with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience. Both companies consider this research as important, as they to begin evaluating and understanding customers’ perspectives around the future of food delivery centered on self-driving vehicles.
Domino’s Heatwave Compartment pizza container was fabricated by local partner Roush Enterprises, which was also involved in the pizza company’s DXP delivery vehicle in 2015. The preliminary testing of the delivery process using the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle -- in self-driving mode – was completed at Mcity, a simulated urban environment on the University of Michigan’s campus. The project is also being supported by the city of Ann Arbor.
According to Patrick Doyle, Domino’s president and chief executive, the company is excited in helping lead research into how self-driving vehicles could play a role in the future of pizza delivery.
Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president for Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, remarked that the carmaker is bent on increasing its understanding of the business opportunity for self-driving vehicles to support the movement of both people and goods. He added that both Ford and Domino’s have a vision for a future where a smart environment is laden with smart vehicles that could enhance people’s lives.
Ford acknowledges that research -- like the one being conducted with Dominos’s -- is needed to ensure that self-driving technology could be applied in ways that improves the customer experience. Such research is considered crucial to Ford’s plans to commence production of self-driving vehicles in 2021.